What Is Gatsby Doing When Nick First Sees Him?

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is set in Long Island, New York in the early 1920s. The protagonist, Jay Gatsby, is introduced to the reader by Nick Carraway, the narrator, after Nick returns from a dinner party at the Buchanan’s house in East Egg. Nick then drives back to his home in West Egg, where he notices Gatsby standing on his balcony, arms outstretched towards a green light across the sound. This green light is revealed to be the one on the dock of Daisy Buchanan’s house, Gatsby’s former lover from five years prior. Daisy had married Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man, before Gatsby returned from the war, so Gatsby bought a house across the sound from Daisy and Tom’s and watched the green light in longing. Gatsby also throws lavish parties in the hope that Daisy will one day attend, making his watching of the green light a symbol of his desire to be with Daisy again.


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